Istanbul blast: Turkey accuses Kurdish militants, arrests 22, including bomber


Istanbul: Six people were killed in an explosion in Istanbul’s main commercial street, and Turkey has blamed Kurdish terrorists for it. Police have reportedly captured 22 individuals, including the bomb planter.

Suleyman Soylu, the interior minister, claimed on Monday that the order to target Istiklal Avenue came from Kobani, a city in northern Syria where Turkish forces have been engaged in combat operations against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia.

The bomber had also travelled through Afrin, another area in northern Syria, according to Soylu.

Six Turkish nationals were slain in the incident, two from each of three families. No one organization has taken ownership.

Erdogan: Bomb blast on Istanbul avenue kills 6

On the historic Istiklal Avenue, a famous destination for shoppers and tourists with a tramline running its length, photos from television news reports showed a person, who appeared to be a woman, putting a parcel beneath a raised flower bed.

Fifty people were discharged from the hospital after Sunday’s attack, which sparked concerns that Turkey could be hit with more bombings and attacks, like the series that it suffered between mid-2015 and 2017.

Istanbul has been targeted in the past by Kurdish, Islamist, and leftist militants. An offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) claimed twin bombings outside an Istanbul soccer stadium in December 2016 that killed 38 people and wounded 155.

Ankara says the YPG, which Washington has supported in the conflict in Syria, is a wing of the PKK.

Turkey has carried out three incursions in northern Syria against the YPG, including in 2019, seizing hundreds of kilometers of land. President Tayyip Erdogan has said this year that Turkey will again target the YPG.

The PKK has led an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984 and more than 40,000 people have been killed in clashes. It is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the European Union, and the United States.

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